As a background to our spiritual wanderings, I neglected to include that due to financial considerations we had to move to another town. The relocation helped us discover Church #3. From afar, Church #3 seemed like a good fit. The Bible teaching was sound and it looked like they were not in a time of upheaval. Both facts were great pluses, considering where we had come from. They were also very kind to my husband and valued his experience. The problem was that I entered with a huge chip on my shoulder. The chip would manifest itself in ways I could not have foreseen. I thought I had recovered from Church #1, but that was far from the truth.
For years, in whatever church we had served in, I had always been deeply involved in music both as a director and performer, and as a Bible teacher to women. That was the identity that wrapped itself to the core of who I thought I was in Christ. The question is, what do you do when you enter a church that doesn’t value the credentials you hold in great regard and doesn’t include in their mission statement the need for such a ministry?
My response was to unintentionally stamp harshly on the feet of those who were trying to minister in those areas. Often I was not even aware of my skills at being the proverbial bull in a china shop. My husband has the gift of tact. I think when God was giving out that gift that I instead ran over to the line that was handing out chocolate. I wanted what was sweet and easy rather than what needed careful thought and consideration. We lasted in Church #3 for about five years. Sadly, I was always the round peg in the square hole. I came from a background of theological training and didn’t know how to cross the divide into a world where the high point of year of ministry to women was a Women’s Christmas Tea. When the organizers of the Tea said “Bring along your prettiest china cup to the Tea”, all I had in comparison was a Styrofoam cup that had seen better days.
The five years at Church #3 was my humbling in the wilderness. My gifting didn’t fit, my personality didn’t fit, and what I had considered stars in my crown were lumps of coal. This was the point where I hit rock bottom and it was the point where God could begin to build me up into what He wanted, rather than what I wanted. Due to my spouse taking retirement, we had to again make another move, and Church #4 is where we could both finally begin to heal and God could redeem the pain.